Cooling Fan Assembly Buyer’s Guide
- Most cooling fan assemblies include a mounting shroud, fan blade and a motor which is part of the engine’s cooling system.
- A cooling fan functions by getting enough air into the radiator to transfer the heat from the engine’s coolant to the outside air
- Usually, a cooling fan assembly is installed between the radiator and the engine.
- Cooling fans could be electric or engine driven.
- Look out for unusual crackling sound from the radiator, frequent car overheating and diminished air conditioning function.
- A cooling fan assembly could cost around $400 to $500.
A car’s engine generates large amounts of heat by constantly burning fuel. This makes the engine overheating one of the major problems car owners experience. An important component in keeping a car’s engine cool is the engine’s cooling fan assembly.
What is a cooling fan assembly?
Most automobile cooling fan assembly includes a mounting shroud, fan blade and a motor which is part of the engine’s cooling system. It functions by getting enough air into the radiator to transfer the heat from the engine’s coolant to the outside air. An engine’s cooling system works by releasing coolant into the engine to absorb heat. The heated coolant will then make its way back to the engine’s radiator. This is where the cooling fan assembly’s work comes in by passing air through the radiator to cool it down before it goes back to the engine’s water pump.
Usually, a cooling fan assembly is installed between the radiator and the engine. It can be installed in front or behind the radiator. Air flow in the radiator is crucial especially for modern vehicles who have reduced radiator grille size. Cooling fans are driven either by an engine crankshaft or by an electric motor.
Electric Cooling Fan Assembly
Electrical cooling fans are powered by the car’s electrical system. It is controlled by an electric thermostat which stimulates the motor to run only when it exceeds a certain temperature. This makes the cooling system more efficient. The electric motors found on this type of cooling fans are similar to the ones found in industrial electric fans making it easy to find a replacement once the motor becomes faulty. Usually, a failing cooling fan motor is the primary cause of a cooling fan assembly malfunction.
Types of electric cooling fans
Pusher fans are usually located at the front of the engine. These fans are typically used for vehicles that have space constraints. Pusher fans work by pushing air into the radiator.
Puller fans are used in vehicles that have ample space between the radiator and the engines. This type of cooling fan assembly is attached to the back engine side of the vehicle. Puller fans work by pulling air into the radiator.
Engine-Driven Cooling Fan Assembly
This type of cooling fan assembly is powered by the car’s engine. Engine-driven fans need an engine crankshaft to work. As you start off your engine, the manual cooling fan starts to spin. Although most cars have electric cooling fans installed, some still have fans that need clutch systems to work. Flex fans are also engine driven. This cooling fan assembly is normally used for high-performance racing vehicles because of its thin blades. Its thin blades make it vibrate less and produce less noise compared to other types of cooling fan assembly.
Getting the right cooling fan assembly
A cooling fan assembly is one of the components that are responsible for keeping the engine in its proper working temperature. If you're planning to buy a new one for your vehicle, then check out some of these tips to help you choose the best type for your needs and your budget:
Manual vs. Electric
A cooling fan assembly comes in two types: manual and electric. When choosing one for your car, it's important that you weigh the pros and cons of each type to see which of them suits your needs best.
A manual or engine-driven cooling fan assembly powers up the moment you turn the engine on. Its airflow increases along with the engine's speed, capably providing your vehicle with more air at higher engine RPM compared to an electric cooling fan assembly. This type is especially useful if you're having overheating problems at high speeds or if you frequently take your vehicle out on off-road adventures.
On the other hand, an electrical cooling fan assembly is recommended if you're looking for an improved engine performance. Unlike the manual type, this one has no parasitic loss, providing more power and less engine drag. However, this type is not suitable for cars with a restrictive cooling unit.
OEM vs. Aftermarket
One of the most important factors to consider when buying a cooling fan assembly is your budget. Are you willing to splurge or are you looking for cheap options? If you're working on a tight budget, a good aftermarket cooling fan assembly is your best bet. Although its quality may not be as guaranteed as that of an OEM cooling fan assembly, it still does the job well while giving you a wide variety of options to choose from. However, you should keep in mind that not all aftermarket cooling fan assembly is compatible with your vehicle. So, make sure that you choose one that fits your car properly.
Now, if you're someone who doesn't mind paying a few extra dollars for a product with a proven longevity and reliable quality, then go for an OEM cooling fan assembly. Unlike the aftermarket type, this one will surely fit your vehicle like a glove. The only downside about this type is that it's not easily available in any auto parts store.
Tips on how to choose the right cooling fan assembly for your vehicle
- Know the CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating of the cooling fan. Basically, CFM refers to how much air a fan moves.
- This determines the fan’s optimal air flow. You can look at your cooling fan assembly’s label or user guide for this kind of information.
- Make sure that the fan has a minimum of four blades. More blades installed would mean a more effective and efficient cooling process.
- Check the cooling fan assembly’s warranty. You do not want to have a problem replacing these fans.
- Make sure to choose the right style and type fit for your vehicle.
It is also important to be aware of the indicators when your cooling fan assembly needs replacement. Look out for unusual crackling sound from the radiator, frequent car overheating and diminished air conditioning function. These things may mean that there is something wrong with your cooling fan assembly. Remember not to take these things for granted as this can have a huge impact on the overall health and performance of your vehicle.
How much does a cooling fan assembly cost?
A cooling fan assembly usually costs around $400 to $500. It is usually sold as a whole set but parts are also sold individually. For example, you can buy a single fan shroud from $30 to $40. Brands offer different options when it comes to model and fan types.
Most car engines are designed to operate with a temperature range of about 195 to 220 degrees. A car engine releases a huge amount of heat and stress, especially on long drives, making the engine exceed its temperature range especially when the cooling fan is not working properly. This causes a lot of cars to overheat on the road.
Frequent engine overheating could lead to long term damaging effects on your car. It will cause stress to the radiator and heater hoses, causing them to burst. The steam that is generated inside the system can also damage radiators that are made of plastic end tanks. Overheating can also cause damage to pistons, cylinders, bearings and valves inside your car. This long-term damage can be prevented by having a good cooling fan assembly installed.
Quick and Easy Steps for Replacing a Cooling Fan Assembly
The cooling fan assembly helps lower the engine's temperature by drawing in air into the radiator. Considering the harsh working conditions that it's constantly subjected to, it's not really surprising for it to succumb to the effects of everyday wear and tear after a few years of use. You should replace it once it gets damaged to prevent any potential overheating problems. Here are the tools you need and the steps you should follow when replacing the cooling fan assembly:
Difficulty level: Moderate
Tools you'll need:
- Ratchet and socket set
- Replacement cooling fan assembly
Step 1: Turn your vehicle's engine off and let it cool down sufficiently before you start working underneath the hood to keep yourself out of harm's way.
Step 2: Using your hands, carefully disconnect the car's battery. Isolate the negative battery cable and make sure that you place it away from the battery terminal.
Step 3: After making sure that the battery is disconnected, remove the electrical wirings attached to the radiator. Work cautiously to avoid damaging any part.
Step 4: Using the ratchet and socket set, loosen up the bolts that hold the housing of the cooling fan assembly in place. Carefully pull it out after you remove all its bolts.
Step 5: Place the replacement cooling fan assembly in its mounting location. Don't forget to double-check if everything is properly aligned to avoid encountering any problems.
Step 6: Secure the new cooling fan assembly in place using the bolts that you removed earlier. Again, use the ratchet and socket set when reattaching the bolts. Make sure that you tighten them up sufficiently to keep the cooling fan assembly from coming lose while in use.
Step 7: Reconnect the electrical wirings as well as the car's battery.
Step 8: Turn the engine on and let it run for a few minutes to see if the new cooling fan assembly is functioning properly. You shouldn't encounter any engine overheating problem if it's in good shape.
Replacing a cooling fan assembly is a DIY job that takes about an hour to accomplish if performed properly. If you're an expert DIYer, you can possibly finish this in just 30 minutes.